ACCM 2015: Christmas Lights

Today is the fourth day of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2015!

The featured topic is – Christmas Lights – and the focus is on . . .
Some families string up a few lights each year while others go nuclear and are destined to force their neighbors into a brown out situation. Did your family put up lights and outdoor decorations around Christmas time? What about the neighbors? And was it a favorite family activity to drive around to look at Christmas lights? What about any local attractions such as parks, zoos and the like which put up displays of lights and outdoor decorations? Write about anything related to Christmas lights and your memories of Christmases past.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] really had to give today’s feature topic a lot of thought because I can count on one hand (and still have 4 fingers left) the number of times my dad put up outdoor lights and decorations for Christmas! Then I thought, since I’m the baby of the family, maybe these outdoor decorations were done when I was too young to remember them. No, that wasn’t the reason at all. Both of my brothers recently confirmed that putting up outdoor lights and decorations wasn’t something dad liked, or even wanted to do. However, what he did like from time to time was taking the family to see beautifully decorated homes and neighborhoods for the holidays – which is probably why I enjoy Christmas Light tours today!

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While living in San Gabriel, California in 1989, I had an opportunity to experience one of the best Christmas Light Tours that year — the spectacular Balian House in Altadena, California! This 1922 Mediterranean-style mansion at 1960 Mendocino Lane is the home of the ice-cream mogul, George Balian. During the tour, I learned the family has decorated this house and the 3.5 acres surrounding it for the holidays since 1955. They started with 10,000 colored lights and today, the 10,000 lights cover just the front walkway alone!

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There were many holiday scenes to enjoy on the tour such as Santa with his elves and reindeer, and Charlie Brown with the Peanut Gang in tow. Most, if not all these scenes have movable parts that made it a fun experience for kids (and adults too). My favorite part of the tour was the Nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus laying in a manger surrounded by angels, shepherds, Wise men and a whole host of others celebrating the birth of Christ!

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Thousands of people visit this mansion every year and I can certainly believe that because there were a lot of people there that night! And once the strolling carolers began to sing, “Children laughing, people passing; meeting smile after smile. And on every street corner you’ll hear…” everyone who knew the song was singing right along with them!

Just when I thought this night couldn’t get any better, Santa Claus appeared on the sidewalk a few feet in front of us with a HUGE bag of toys for all the kids there that night. My son’s face lit up brightly when Santa handed him a gift from his bag. Marcus was so pleased with his gift, and Santa, that he gladly took a picture with him for me!

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“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”


4 thoughts on “ACCM 2015: Christmas Lights

  1. There were neighborhoods known for beautiful decorations and every year when my children were young, we would visit a couple of neighborhoods. We weren’t big on Christmas decorations for our home but enjoyed seeing the hard work of others.


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